A Frugal Wedding: 5 Sure Tips to Trim the Cost

Wedding lists are all over the internet, yet here I am adding another, why? Recently, I saw a wedding article about how a wedding from 1970 just isn’t possible anymore. You can read it by clicking here. This post argues a different look. A look into why, why we need all those things and if it is indeed possible to get everything for less, or do it yourself. It’s tips of a sort. Tips on how to ensure a cheap ahem, frugal wedding, a minimalist wedding, or just a wedding away from debt. 

This is a continuation of the Marriage series under the Life section of our site. MadMan and I are in the middle of getting married with a budget of less than $10k! You can read all about our engagement, picking a venue, getting a dress, and getting invitations and how to save on each of them by clicking on those links! 

1) Organization is Key

The biggest way to spend more is to be unorganized. To ensure you stay organized, create a wedding planning notebook in OneNote or something similar. I have found it easier to keep track of if it’s not a physical notebook, not to mention it helps the planet. Below, you can see a screen shot of my notebook.

Wedding Planner
I blocked a few things out to keep us “safe”, but overall here is our planner! 

They key here is to make everything easy to find and easy to stay on track with. Ensure you have a list of things to do, the date and other important information, and a budget with all listed expenses in your Major Details section. After that, it comes down to adding sections for what you need and want. You can use my template, or make your own.

2) Trim the Media

It sounds strange, but what in your wedding is just a product of social media or advertisements and not what you actually want? Here are a few things to think about:

  • Photo booth vendor: this is big now days, but you can DIY this easy. Find a pretty place in your reception, give people a few props, and let them use their own phones. Give them a poster cut like a polaroid with the date on it. I promise, they will have just as much fun as if you had paid thousands or hundreds for a photo booth. (Pinterest can be great for ideas for here)
  • Favors: How many times have you kept the favors from a wedding? Personally, the last wedding I went to, I didn’t even grab one of the favors. The favor in a wedding is the fun times, the food, and the memories. No need for a trinket that can cost from $1 to $20 each!
  • Throwing: A personal opinion, but a thought nonetheless.  Do you need the traditions like throwing the bouquet or the garter? I don’t think we will. Why? It’s just another $10 to $100 cost that not many people in our group would enjoy. Rather, we will save that money on the DJ, our splurge.

Go through each item on your list like this. While we got rid of most of the normal traditions in a wedding, we kept the DJ. Why? Because we know how much we love dancing. We thought about a Spotify play list (great for having music, not really for dancing) but we decided to make a DJ our only splurge.

3) Ask Friends for Help

My wedding will feature flowers, makeup, decorations, locations, food, photography, and officiating by family and friends. We’re lucky we know so many people, so lucky that our wedding will almost (in the scale of things) be free. While you may not know so many people, try to ask for anything you can. Remember your priorities and know that just because it is free does not mean it’s cheap.

  • Ask your makeup savvy friend to do makeup
  • Ask your friend in design school to help with decorations
  • Ask a family member that owns a few acres to use their land
  • If you have a large family, try cooking the food for the reception yourself.
  • Simplify your hair style and ask a friend to help.
  • Find that one friend that’s good with flowers, ask for help.

While you may not be able to get everything, each thing you can get for free (or a gift to the friend) will be money saved for the honeymoon or your future.

4) Invite Less People

It’s the most obvious, yet the hardest to do. Each person added to a wedding can add anywhere from $10 to $50 to a wedding cost or more! Ask your venue how much it costs per head, ask the same of your caterer. Use this infographic to help you decide:

Wedding Intivations.png
It’s ultra-simple for a reason. 

This is the thought process I used to get us down to about 50 people for our wedding. I know this is a very simple chart, and for good reason. It’s intended to be a starting point. Every person is different. Every situation is different. Sometimes even if you should invite them via this chart, you just know they shouldn’t come.

Most important, is to be mindful.

5) Remember, in the end, it’s all about you and your future husband/wife.

The best way to think about how to save money is to remember what this is all about.

You and your significant other are getting married!

Stop for a second, all that should be in your mind is the person you are marrying. Let one other thing in, the most important thing. This thing is the most important item for your big day (other than your man/woman).

This exercise should help you focus your budget.

Is the day about you, him/her, and your God(s)?
Maybe the ceremony should be the focus and a simple reception is all that’s needed.

Is the day about you, him/her, and friends?
Make the celebrations the focus! Sitting at a ceremony might be only ten minutes of a four-hour dance party!

Is it just about y’all?
Why have a ceremony? You can just have a reception or maybe even elope!
Talk about saving money!

What’s most important to remember is that it’s just a day. Some will say it’s the most important of your life, but that’s simply not true.

The day you said you would marry him/her is the day you really made the commitment.
The day you have kids is the day your life will change forever.
The day you met him/her and the day you said, “I love you” for the first time can be just as if not more important that the day you made it formal. After all, if not for those days, you wouldn’t be here.

With that in mind, remember that somethings really aren’t needed. Remember that you won’t remember, half of what happens that day or even what you said.

You don’t need a three-course meal to show God your commitment to each other. On the other hand, two non-religious people don’t need an elaborate ceremony to celebrate loving each other with family and friends.

It’s all about perspective and finding what adds value to your life, not just the moment. 

What did you cut from your wedding to save money?
Did you decide to elope and are you happy with that?
What is your frugal wedding budget?

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